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Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers free or low-cost health insurance coverage for children and teens in families who can’t afford private insurance.

CHIPs are joint state and government programs. Each state has its own CHIP, but your state may call it a different name.

What does CHIP cover?

Pre-existing conditions are ALWAYS covered. No medical conditions are excluded. All state CHIPs must cover certain things like:

  • Doctor visits and check-ups
  • Emergencies
  • Lab work and x-rays
  • Inpatient and outpatient services
  • Prescription medicines
  • Dental services
  • Mental health services
  • Home health care
  • Medical equipment
  • Transportation to medical care

Here is a full list of what services states are required to cover and which are optional under CHIP.

How do I know if my child qualifies for CHIP?

Children in low-income households might qualify if they:

  • Are under 19 years of age
  • Don’t have health insurance and not eligible for Medicaid
  • Are a US citizen or legal immigrant
  • Are a resident of the state where they are applying
  • Meet state CHIP income requirements

Some states also cover pregnant women and their newborn for a certain amount of time.

States might have other rules around eligibility, cost, and benefits. The income requirements are higher for CHIP than Medicaid. So even if your child isn’t eligible for Medicaid, they still might be eligible for CHIP.

Can my child have a Marketplace plan and Medicaid or CHIP?

If you or your child have a Marketplace plan and get approved for Medicaid or CHIP, you must cancel the Marketplace plan.

If you don’t quit the Marketplace plan, you might have to pay back tax credit payments you received for the months you or your child qualified for Medicaid or CHIP coverage. But don’t cancel your Marketplace plan until you know for sure that you are approved for Medicaid or CHIP.

How do I apply for CHIP?

You can get more information or an application by calling 1-877-543-7669 (1-877-KIDS-NOW).

You can also go to the CHIP website and find your state’s CHIP program. Most states have applications available online and in-person. You can apply for CHIP for your child anytime.

Need more information?

Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support are:

US Department of Health & Human Services

For the most up-to-date information on health care and insurance laws and how they might affect you

Medicaid and CHIP – US Department of Health and Human Services
Toll-free number: 1-877-696-6775

Information about coverage and eligibility: Your state social service or human service agency can give you the best answers to questions about your benefits, eligibility, and fraud. 


The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Department of Human Services. Children’s health insurance program (CHIP). Accessed July 27, 2023. Children’s health insurance program (CHIP). Published 2015. Accessed July 27, 2023. https//


Last Revised: September 30, 2023

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